8 Things I wish I learned in university — How education reduces our chances at succeeding in life

Get a degree, you can’t get a good job without owning a paper that says you’re smart!

How many times have you heard these words from parents, relatives, close friends’ parents or any adult that might have a say about your enthusiasm toward education?

We spend roughly 16 years going through primary school, high school and university only to end up doing something that requires skills and traits nowhere close to what we’ve been “educated” on.

We are expected to all fit in the same system, learn at the same speed, progress at the same rate or be judged based on the same criteria despite the well known and universally accepted fact that we are all unique individuals! Contradictory much?..

Ok, going to school has its positives: you make lifelong friendships, go on a few memorable summer camps and learn to find your way around town if commuting to school from an early age.
Besides that and the occasional dent in my self esteem from not getting marks as high as my brother, classmates or cousins, nobody told me that everything I’ve had to study and be examined on will have little to no influence on my ability to succeed in life.
Nowadays’ university and Masters degree graduates are, in most countries, either unemployed or working on very modest monthly wages and they all leave school with the same old principles that are in no way focused on self-development, evolution and one’s ability to live life to their highest potential.

I still remember how confused and lost I felt when I graduated from university and, years down the line, I wish the education system had taught me how to apply myself to succeed in life rather than feeding me information I was expected to robotically memorise and regurgitate.

Here are a few things I wish I learned in school:

1. Figure out what makes you come alive

We all want to be happy but often mistake happiness for comfort and complacency and settle for much less than what we dreamt to achieve when we were younger.

Finding your passion can be difficult to do at an early age, but it might help if you ask yourself: what excites me, what makes me really come alive?

If you don’t have the answer straight away, that’s alright. Just remember to ask yourself these questions often and when you find answers write it down on paper, put every effort and time into getting closer to your dream and do it in that very moment.

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. — Howard Thurman

2. Wealth has nothing to do with money

We all strive for a better quality of life, a better version of our own selves and money has nothing to do with it. In fact, the most valuable riches are absolutely free of charge and available to us all for the taking.

Positive attitude, harmony in our interpersonal relationships, freedom from fear, self discipline, willingness to share our blessings, the wisdom to understand and accept people as they are, belief in our abilities to achieve whatever we set our minds to or the labour of love are just a few sources of happiness that cost nothing at all.

3. Stop being afraid

We constantly worry about making the right decisions, being financially secure, not stepping outside the boundaries imposed by our peers or the society at large, not to mention the stress brought into our lives by the mass media.

Fear paralyses us and keeps us numbed down in our complacency, without the ability to think about anything else outside the sphere of the subjects of our fears.

It inhibits our creativity and makes us forget to think often about our passions and dreams; it cancels any will or initiative to set goals or turn the smallest aspiration into reality.

4. Set goals

The goal is not to get a job, but to do something notable, be successful, contribute to helping others achieve their own goals and be happy along the way.

If you don’t set goals and plan to achieve them, your dreams will remain nothing but mere wishes.

5. Just because you are employed, it doesn’t mean you can’t be entrepreneurial

There’s nothing more rewarding than having a team member that’s constantly focused on improving the current practices. Think outside the box, don’t just settle for following the rules set by those who came before you.

Think of ways to be more productive in everything you do and help your colleagues and superiors do the same.

If you’re blessed with a superior that appreciates your initiative, you will be proud to see your suggestions being implemented and positive changes happening as a result of your contribution.

If not, well you will at least have exercised your mind and not settled for the same endless rat race everybody else is so happy to be in.

6. It’s ok to fail

That’s not only ok, but it will in fact happen and it will happen a lot! As long as you don’t beat yourself down and learn a lesson from every failure, you will be just fine.

These will be the situations that will teach you the most valuable lessons, so don’t fear failure.

Do your best, always raise your standards and upgrade your skill set, learn the lessons worth learning and move on, FAST!

7. Wherever you are, be there!

You have to remember that tomorrow is promised to no man. The present moment is contributing to making you the person you aim to become provided you are present in every moment and remember to do something, anything, toward achieving your goals.

The most dangerous risk of all is spending your life not doing what you like on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later. — Randy Komisar

8. When the voice inside you whispers “Quit”, listen!

I keep mentioning complacency and settling for whatever we are given rather than what we really want to achieve and that’s because that is the general state of most people I know.

Being complacent in something that brings you no joy is a lot like smoking: you know it is killing you softly but you do it anyway.

In the grand scheme of things, we are but a grain of sand in the universe and all our worries and fears are a result of our own mind fabrications.

Don’t be afraid to quit and reinvent yourself!

Understand what really makes your world go round and DECIDE to put your undivided effort into making it all real.

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